Lawmakers, advocates push for tougher rules to close gun show background check loophole

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka met with Sen. Bob Menendez to discuss the so-called “gun show loophole.”

Matt Trapani and Chris Keating

May 8, 2023, 10:19 PM

Updated 441 days ago

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Some New Jersey lawmakers say that if the flow of guns to New Jersey from gun shows in the south is targeted, they can push down the number of shootings in the state.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka met with Sen. Bob Menendez to discuss the so-called “gun show loophole.” This comes after a violent four-day period in Newark where seven people were shot and three killed.
One of the victims in the shootings was 8-year-old Zhamire Lopez. He and an unidentified man were killed inside a home along Johnson Avenue. Police say that three weapons were found at the scene.
In a Sunday morning shooting, four people were shot. Julius Ferguson, 38, was killed.
The history of those weapons is not yet clear, but city officials say they have long seen gunfire on Newark streets derive from weapons bought from private sellers who don't perform background checks.
“We are tracing guns now…trying to local where these guns come from,” Baraka says.
The mayor says that the city could target these private sellers.
“The city of Newark is prepared to file a civil suit against some of these folks selling guns arbitrarily and getting in the hands of children and others in Newark that are involved in homicides,” Baraka says.
There is already a law in place as of 2022 designed to hold gun show sellers accountable for background checks.
Menendez says that the law is not being enforced because the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is still working out the regulations. Menendez and other gun reform advocates are pushing to get it done.
“ATF has commenced a rule-making process so what we are doing is advocating for ATF to issue the strongest possible regulations,” say Chelsea Parsons, of the ground Everytown for Gun Safety. "So that we are ensuring individuals who are operating a commercial business in firearms are licensed by ATF."
Officials say that once this happens, the United States will be that much closer to having universal background checks.


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